The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 30, 2016 second round of Parliamentary Elections in 50 majoritarian districts across Georgia. ISFED Observation Mission consists of approximately 700 accredited and trained observers.
Over 600 ISFED short-term observers (STOs) are monitoring voting and counting process in a national representative sample of polling stations through Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology. ISFED has observers at all polling stations in four majoritarian districts: #36 Marneuli; #44 Akhaltsikhe-Adigeni; #49 Kutaisi; and #66 Zugdidi. Additionally, 40 mobile groups and 43 DEC observers are deployed as part of the mission. PVT and Incident Centers are working at the Central Office.
According to ISFED observers, after 15:00 voting process has been taking place in calm and organized manner. In majority of cases PEC members respect the procedures determined by the law. Majority of significant violations detected by ISFED are still observed at Marneuli majoritarian district.
ISFED observers have identified 1 case where the secrecy of the vote was violated, 1 case of campaigning at polling station, 1 case where voter voted more than once, 2 cases where unauthorized persons were present at the polling station, 1 case where the inking procedure was violated, 4 cases where the documentation was not properly filled out, 5 cases of violation of mobile ballot box procedure and 1 case of hindering journalists' professional activities.
Voter Turnout by 17:00
According to ISFED, voter turnout by 17:00 is 30.9% with a margin of error of +/-0.8% which is a decline from the first round of the parliamentary elections when voter turnout by 17:00 was 41.8% (with a margin of error +/- 0.6%).
Since turnout is announced at specified times of the day, ISFED calculates the average time it takes for a polling station to process a voter. According to the information recorded by the PECs, in 89.6 % of polling stations, the commission processed, on average, one voter per minute, while in 10.4% of polling stations the commission processed 1-2 voters per minute.
Violations observed by ISFED at the time of the statement
Violation of the secrecy of the vote
• At the polling station #50 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli), with the violation of the secrecy of vote, the voter gave the ballot paper to the person responsible for supervising the ballot box, who then placed the ballot paper in the ballot box.
Voter voting more than once
• At the polling station #5 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) information about voters of the mobile ballot box was not provided in the list of voters. As a result one of the voters voted twice: at the polling station and through the list of mobile ballot box.
Hindering journalists' professional activities
• At nearby area of the polling station #58 of the majoritarian district #70 (Batumi) person accompanying the candidate of the Georgian Dream did not allow journalist of Adjara TV to record an argument between representatives from the UNM and Georgian Dream.
Campaigning at the polling station
• At the polling station #5 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) voter was presented with campaign material, wearing a hat displaying the sequence number of Georgian Dream.
Presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station
• At the polling station #35 of the majoritarian district #60 (Lanchkhuti) Aleko Megrelidze, representative of unauthorized subject, “Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma Inashvili-alliance of patriots of Georgia, United Opposition”, is present.
• At the polling station #40 of the majoritarian district #61 (Ozurgeti) representative of one of the parties was presented without proper accreditation.
Inadequate handling of electoral documentation
• At the polling station #83 of the majoritarian district #49 (Kutaisi) instead of the correct PEC seal number, the record book indicates “2016”. The chairman of the PEC wrote an explanation note.
• At the polling station #73 of the majoritarian district #29 (Rustavi) the number of voter signatures was one less than the number of ballot papers that were handed out.
• At the polling station #93 of the majoritarian district #49 (Kutaisi) the place of registration of a voter is not indicated on the ballot box control sheet.
• At the polling station #80 of the majoritarian district #49 (Kutaisi) the ballot box control sheet was not signed by 3 members of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC).
Irregularities related to mobile ballot box
• At the polling station #9 of the majoritarian district #47 (Kutaisi) signature of the member of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) was not indicated on the mobile ballot box list. The incident was only highlighted after returning of the mobile ballot box.
• At the polling station #76 of the majoritarian district #70 (Batumi) the voter mistakenly placed the ballot paper in the mobile ballot box, which was sealed as a result. 7 persons from the mobile ballot box list lost their right to vote.
• At the polling station #5 of the majoritarian district #2 (Vake), upon the return of the mobile ballot box by the accompanying commission members, it was discovered that the returned ballot papers were less by one than the difference between existing signatures of the list and used ballot papers should have been.
• At the polling station #7 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) and the polling station #15 of the majoritarian district #61 (Poti) cut section of the mobile ballot box was not sealed. The incident was only highlighted after the mobile ballot box was returned.
Voting without proper inking
• At the polling station #20 of the majoritarian district #11 (Samgori) voter was inked without prior verification. After proper verification, turned out that the voter was not in the voter list of this particular polling station. As a result the voter could not fulfil their right to vote.
At the time of this statement, ISFED observers have filed 31 complaints at District Electoral Commissions and 32 complaints at the Precinct Electoral Commissions. ISFED observers have made 49 entries in the record books.
Together with partner organizations, ISFED allows citizens to follow the election process online, by visiting the Elections Portal – www.electionsportal.ge; where election violations reported by three non-governmental organizations are immediately posted on the elections map. In addition, anyone can report violation of the electoral process by sending a text to a toll-free SMS number 90039. Photo or video evidences of violations can also be uploaded to the Elections Portal
ISFED observers report information to the Data Analysis Center in Tbilisi via SMS and/or phone calls. The Data Analysis Center is comprised of 10 data operators, 10 lawyers, and the staff of the Central Office. ISFED has built a sophisticated PVT database that processes the observers’ text messages. All observer data undergoes several quality control tests and, once those tests are passed, the data is analyzed and incorporated into ISFED’s findings and conclusions.
ISFED reminds voters to have one of the following documents with them to be able to participate in the elections:
• Georgian citizen ID card
• Passport of a citizen of Georgia (the so-called international passport)
• Certificate of an IDP (together with an ID card)
ISFED calls upon all eligible voters in Georgia to go to the polls and express their free will by voting in favor of a candidate of their choice.
ISFED will release its next statement at 22:00
ISFED Observation Mission is made possible with the generous support from the American people, by financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Runoff Election Day mission is also supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia, and the European Union (EU). The views expressed in this statement belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and may not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or the European Union.